FINDING YOUR OWN UNIQUE STYLE FOR YOUR HOME
Once, someone said to me something I will never forget. I'd arranged my hairdresser to come to my flat for the first time to cut my hair. As she arrived she said 'I knew this was your flat, I could tell from the outside. It is so you.'
For some reason that statement struck a chord with me more than any other compliment I'd ever had about my home. To know that the place that I treasured and spent so much time really projected what I wanted it to was a big deal. It felt really good.
When I first started this blog, I didn't really know what I wanted it to achieve. On the surface of it, it was a place for me to share my ideas, what I liked, my style. But, to be honest, I never really thought about what the reader might be getting from it. Yep, I have to say I can be a little ego centric sometimes! But in all of my self development over the past year (trust me, there has been a lot), I started to think about what I wanted it to do. Outside of myself and my own enjoyment, I wanted it to help people.
Nothing pulls on my heart more than seeing someone who is afraid to be themselves. As women especially, we can often be so caught up with what in fashion, what magazines and trendy people tell us is cool or what looks great to other people. We focus on what will get us the most compliments. I used to be like that too. But over time I came to realise that all of that is external. It's all for outside approval. Are we really tapping into what our hearts want? What makes us feel happy and joyful? Obviously, there is a bigger question at work here - acceptance from external sources. But to take it down to a level of home comforts (literally), are we creating spaces that reflect our true selves? Ones that we feel proud of without outside justification?
I started to examine this further. Both within myself and others. I started to realise that a lot of us, again, me included at times, aren't really sure who we are. We're not always sure of what we like, or why. We're not really sure of how to put our personality across in a way that says to the world, 'this is who I am, and I'm happy with it whether you are or not!'
It started to change my view on interiors. I used to look at some spaces and think 'jeez, that's ugly.' But now, I look at a space and ask myself if I can see the identity of the owner. I no longer judge. If I can't see the personality of the owner, I wonder how I can help them to be more in touch with it. I ask myself what I can do, or coach out of them in order to step outside of what society, magazines or style experts say is cool and instead find what resonates with them on a deeper level.
One thing I did for myself in order to learn more about this process was to keep a Personal Style Diary - In layman's terms a scrapbook. For a few months I would observe what I was drawn to and rip out the picture or snap it on my phone and then get it all down in my Personal Style Diary. At first, I didn't think about it, I just grabbed the things I liked or was drawn to. After a few months of this, I sat down and examined the results. I made myself grab a pen and start to annotate the pages. Why was I drawn to this? Was it the colour, the shape, what is signified? Then I went a little deeper. Why? Where did a love of X or Y colour come from?
The results were inspiring. I realised that a lot of my values and inspiration came from things I had seen or experienced as a child. Things that made me feel a certain way, or gave me a feeling of the life I wanted to achieve. For instance, I found that I had pulled a lot of pictures of women, especially those from the 50s and 60s. Looking back I can see this came from a love of old movies, and Grease in particular being a favourite as a youngster. They made me feel happy. They gave me fond memories. They reminded me of the women I wanted to be when I was a kid.
The process gave me a much greater understanding of who I was, what I felt joy for, what I stood for, what and who I aspired to be. And your home should always be a reflection of those four things. Why? Because trust me, it's way more fulfilling.
In order to really start to find 'you' in your home, follow this process to create a Personal Style Diary.
1. For at least one month, start a scrapbook (it can be either online or on paper, but I find paper, gluing, sticking and writing really aids the process). In this scrapbook stick anything that you see and you are drawn to. Drawn to may just mean that you are flicking through a magazine and you find yourself starting at one picture for longer and you don't know why. Or it may be an instant love for a product. They don't all need to be interiors related things, it could be a handbag, a person, a piece of art, a quote. Stick them down and don't think about it anymore.
2. After a month of collecting images, look over your findings. Get yourself comfy, make a drink and grab a pen. Next to each image ask yourself this question - 'what was I drawn to this image?' Write as much as you can. Don't overthink it, just flow with it.
3. Take a break for at least a couple of days.
4. Come back to your scrapbook and read over your notes. Do you feel any differently? Add more notes if you wish.
5. Next, try and examine why you chose that image. What feelings does in conjure? Do they link to anything in your past, or future? Do they provide hope, aspiration? Do they make you feel affluent, successful, happy?
Keeping a Personal Style Diary is the first step in finding you own unique style and starting to bring it into your home, the outcome being a space that is fulfilling on a deeper level than outside acceptance. The results will be transformation and inspiring!
I'd love to hear if you will start a style diary, and of course, please share your findings!
PS. Below is a link to a short, fun quiz I created to get you thinking about your own style.